It’s the minor details that make your wedding day special. From the flower arrangements to the place settings, every element of your big day comes together to create an event that you will never forget. If you’re already knee-deep in planning, there’s one important thing you must not forget: wedding transportation.
Making sure that you, your wedding party, and your guests make it to the ceremony on time is an absolute must. So, what are your options and when should you start looking at fun vehicles to do the job? Wedding planners Samantha Goldberg and Lindsey Nickel share everything you need to know about planning your wedding transportation.
Meet the Expert
When You Need Wedding Transportation
Chances are, you will need some type of wedding transport for your event. However, how many vehicles you will need depends on your guests and where you are holding your reception and ceremony. The first step in planning your transport is figuring out what you need and at what times throughout the day.
"Transportation is generally needed when you have a large wedding party and need to keep your group together for photos, arrival on time at the church or venue, and more depending on your needs," says Goldberg.
"It is also important to offer attendees who are from out of town the option of a bus. You should keep in mind they don't live at this location and it might give some angst on how to get around. Keeping your guests and bridal party safe is the key element to a successful wedding day."
Who Needs Wedding Transportation
Of course, you and your partner will need an efficient way to get to and from your ceremony venue and reception. That’s a given. You may also wish to hire some transport for your wedding party so that they arrive at the locations on time.
"When booking transportation, don't forget about the wedding party," says Nickel. "Often a smaller vehicle like a Sprinter is a great way to get the wedding party to the venue if they are not getting ready on-site. It can go in two shifts so the couple does not see each other."
"It's a nice touch to have the wedding party together as it allows for everyone to stay on time and together," explains Goldberg. "The newest trend is having the [couple] together on a large limo or party bus so they can celebrate ahead of time with their wedding party. It takes stress off the [couple] when they have specific photo locations and having everyone arriving at the same time makes for an easier schedule."
If your budget allows, you can offer all of your guests transport. This is especially important if you have any guests attending the wedding from out of town, and their hotel accommodations are not near the ceremony or reception venue.
Average Cost of Wedding Transportation
Next up, let’s talk about the cost of your wedding transportation. "Budgeting for transportation should be a key factor on your list of must-haves," says Goldberg. "Pricing varies depending on the type of transport. For example, a stretch limo which can fit 12 to 14 people might run you $350 to $500 for three hours and there is usually a three-hour minimum with most fleet companies."
She continues, "Shuttle busses or party busses can vary from $800 to $1,200 depending on the time needed. They are usually at your beck and call on how long they need to stay at each event and [when to provide the] last shuttle back to the hotel of choice. Trolleys are still a fun option in cities that have lots of culture and eye candy. They can start at $1,200 to $2,200 depending on time and how many trips are needed to get your wedding party or guests to where you are or where they need to be."
When to Book Wedding Transportation
Starting to plan your event? Booking your wedding transportation nice and early is the way to go. Leaving this part of your wedding planning to the last minute is a recipe for disaster. Make it a real priority from the start.
"Be sure to start booking your wedding transportation early," says Nickel. "Vehicles and staff are limited—even in big cities—so book early so that you can get on their schedule. Ask about the minimum number of hours for each vehicle. Don't forget transportation for your after-party—don't assume that rideshares will be available late at night, especially at venues farther away from a major city."
Ready to get moving and book your wedding transport? Before you dive right in, you might want a bit of expert advice to ensure you tick all of the boxes. Here are four things you need to keep in mind:
Ask the important questions.
You need to make sure that everything is clear from the offset. "Be sure to ask about tipping, gas, and mileage," says Nickel. "Often tipping, gas, and mileage are included in the quote, but be sure to ask so that you don't have any surprise costs after the wedding."
Get quotes early on.
"Couples are always surprised by the price of transportation," says Nickel. "It really varies by region. Be sure to get a quote early so that you can build this price into your budget." The sooner you understand how much your wedding transport will cost you, the sooner you can start factoring it in.
Use your negotiation skills.
You don’t always have to take the first offer or price you get. If you’re looking to cut back, it could be worth talking to the venue or hotel manager. "Many hotel chains will offer incentives such as shuttle depending on rooms which are booked," says Goldberg. "Use your fabulous negotiation skill set to allow you to provide a stress-free day. Trust me, your guests will appreciate this more than you know."
Invest in wedding insurance.
Whenever you’re forking out cash for an essential, such as wedding transportation, ensure that your insurance covers it. The last thing you want is to end up paying out-of-pocket should your chosen company have any hiccups along the way.
Wedding Transportation Ideas
From planes and trains to automobiles, the wedding transport options are seemingly endless. Should you be looking for some inspiration to help you figure things out, here are some ideas you could try.
Perfect for 12 to 14 guests, stretch limos provide a little pizazz to the wedding day. Goldberg recommends getting one with "all the bells and whistles inclusive of a full bar, TV and light show."
If you need to shuttle more guests to and from your venues, you might want to look into a party bus. These can come with fun extras, such as on-bus discos and even dancing poles.
Hosting your wedding near a lake or on an island? You might want to look into (literally) ferrying your guests to the reception. Goldberg says that this is a "relaxing breezy ride either way" and surely a memorable trip!
Looking for something quirky? A revamped school bus could be the way to go. This fun type of wedding transport is ideal for larger groups and, as Nickels says, it can be a "fun twist on traditional shuttles."